Copyright 2017 Evelyn Zinn.
All rights reserved.
Halloween was one of the quietest I had ever experienced. An advantage I found I liked living in the country. Everyone else was at the store for a party. I had the house to myself. Though it was not spent relaxing. I had not been able to find a ceramic pot that suited what I needed and so for the last two weeks, I had been elbow deep in clay.
I had to explain to Maxine and Rosscoe that no, we would not be building a kiln or painting the bowl. That was the spell would enter the water. The water over a period of time would dilute the clay down until there was nothing left and then the working would be begin to seep into the Worlds.
This night however saw me just practicing. There were five bowls made and they would be drying in the sun room for the next several days. I was just playing around. I needed it as the last couple of weeks had been nothing but prep. Keeping myself on task with the store duties had been hard. I wanted to finish everything and now.
“You’re as bad as your namesake.”
I paused and looked over at my rocking chair which was now moving slightly.
“You’re the last spirit I would expect.”
He chuckled and leaned forward.
“Yes I imagine. Since it was me that your mother hated so much. I suppose you barely remember your namesake though.”
“I remember she had fire brown hair.”
“Look fiery in the sun, but was really just brunette with our bloodlines natural highlights.”
I kept working.
“Why are you here grandfather?”
“Because I know what you’re going to do and I’m here to ask you to do me a favor in the spell of yours.”
He explained what he wanted. I had to admit I felt embarrassed to having forgotten that angle.
“I can add another ladder path cord.”
“No, it must be done with a very particular song. Do you remember the path finding song I taught?”
I smiled. Still to this day I would find myself humming that song if I was having a hard time with a decision.
“When you lay the bowl to rest… sing that song.”
“I can do that. Now can I ask you something grandfather?”
“Am I missing anything else?”
“Your father holds the answer to that question, but you won’t be seeing until the Sunday after Thanksgiving am I right?”
I nodded. I wasn’t on speaking terms with my mother as she had divorced my father because he wouldn’t yield the family journal to her. I only spoke to my father these days.
“It was her side of the family that gave you your ingenuity.”
“And fricking ego. Damn thing is harder to keep in check than hormones.”
“Only because you’re still young. Your raw ability comes from your namesake, my mother in law. Claudette darling, do you have time for a bit of history?”
I gestured to the clay I had just collapsed.
“I’m actually taking tonight off, so I’d say yes.”
A pipe appeared out of nowhere in his hand.
“Much of what you are seeking to clean up, as you know is from the dabblers and messy business of sloppy magic. Once many of the families who still carried a folk tradition or two reached the North American continent they picked a few things from the Native Americans that helped circle us back to be more tidy with our magic.”
“However there have always been those who refuse to listen to the lessons that have passed down to every magic user and they do as they wish or blindly follow a tradition. For a bunch of idiots who claim a broom, they sure as hell don’t know how to use one!”
“I’m sure grandmother appreciated that.”
“That woman would spend an exact of amount of time cleaning. You have no idea the weight that was lifted off of her shoulders when the news spread that Down’s Syndrome is genetic. The amount of freedom that has been given back to us by science is something to be grateful for. Sadly, you will continue to encounter those who can’t think past their precious little reputations or noses for that matter.”
He took a long drag on his pipe and thought for several moments.
“Did you recognize the magic on the chest?”
“It was old.”
“Too old to get a good read eh? Well, your great great grandfather, who was a BlackFoot but passed as white is who buried that chest. No, he’s not angry you found it but he does wish you had been able to pull everything together before finding it.”
“I was in a race against other individuals.”
“Yes, descendant of those who were too careless to learn. Which reminds me. How attached are you to those journals?”
“Good. You’re to build a pyre along with that bowl and burn them on the lake. The heat from it will melt the ice enough to drop the pages, which are old into the water causing them to disintegrate completely. The time of handing information over on a silver platter is over.”
“So there’s a consensus finally?”
“Yes and it’s that you’re nuts. However the ancestral councils have all agreed it’s time these whippersnappers start over.”
“That could start another Witch’s War. We all know how that last one ended.”
Grandfather took another long drag on his pipe.
“Are those journals accounted for?”
“Yes. They were some of the first I gleaned and then wrapped in ash, salt and sackcloth.”
“Good. They must be burned first. You’ll need to make a fire for each journal. This part you can have some fun with. Use some random configuration for the fires, the conspiracy nuts will eat up like home made candy.”
“Trying to tell me what you want next year?”
“It’d be nice.”
He paused and leaned forward again towards me.
“You’re probably going to need a new alarm clock.”
He was right of course. I may… or may not have thrown the damn thing across the room. Yes it was ten am but it had come too soon for my tastes. The others didn’t get back until noon. All but Maxine went to bed. We spent the next hour talking as I filled her in.
“I knew him, your grandfather. Sounds like the spirit world doesn’t change a person.”